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Rounds Of Our Lives: The greatest moments from Round 12

A frail and partially-blind Ted Whitten, accompanied by son Ted junior, on an emotional “farewell” lap of the MCG before the 1995 state-of-origin match.

Rounds Of Our Lives: The greatest moments from Round 12

Luke Michael    

If you need a break from the constant speculation and analysis accompanying the 2018 AFL season, take a step back and enjoy some of the greatest moments from round 12 in years gone by.

This round has seen some impressive player milestones celebrated, while a bye weekend just before round 12 featured an iconic moment from State of Origin.

Because like Chris Judd bursting through a pack or a muddy afternoon at Arden Street, so are the Rounds of our Lives.

VICTORIA 19.12 (120) d SOUTH AUSTRALIA 8.9 (57) (MCG, State of Origin 1995)
For all of Ted Whitten’s legendary exploits on the field and in the media, it would be his emotional lap of honour on the MCG in 1995 that has endured as perhaps his most iconic moment.

As well as being a Footscray legend, “Mr Football” also embodied the spirit of the “Big V”, making this farewell before a Victoria–South Australia State of Origin match incredibly fitting.

A battle with prostate cancer had left Whitten frail and partially blind, but the joy on his face was palpable as he was driven around the MCG boundary line to the delight of the 64,186 fans in the stands.

Accompanied by his son and three grandchildren, Whitten received a standing ovation as he was driven around the ground in a white convertible while Mariah Carey’s cover of “Hero” played on the PA system.

As he waved and fist pumped to the crowd, it became clear Whitten’s ferociousness had not abated despite his weakened state.

It was also clear Whitten wanted nothing less than for the Vics to smash the visiting “Croweaters”, in what would be his State of Origin swansong.

Luckily for him, Victoria “stuck it right up them” and blew the South Australians away by 63 points.

Tony Lockett ran riot with seven goals to secure the Whitten Medal, while Paul Couch had a game-high 27 touches.

Exactly two months later on 17 August, Whitten died, leaving a nation in mourning.

But his legend lives on, and his lap of honour serves as a reminder of his legendary status in the football community.

HAWTHORN 6.12 (48) d NORTH MELBOURNE 6.11 (47) (Arden Street, Round 12 1977)
Malcolm Blight may have proved himself to be an after-the-siren specialist in the past, but in round 12, 1977, his post-siren kick condemned North Melbourne to a devastating one-point defeat. In atrocious muddy conditions at Arden Street, North Melbourne led at every quarter break but found itself down by a point when Blight won a free kick in front of goal in the dying seconds. He scored a behind to level the game, but was offered a second shot on goal after being pushed in the back as he kicked. Perhaps remembering his 80-metre match winning bomb from the year before, he decided to retake the kick, but this time the ball went out on the full. As a result, Hawthorn was gifted a win by the narrowest of margins.

GEELONG 17.10 (112) d FREMANTLE 13.15 (93) (Kardinia Park, Round 12 1996)
In the era of dominant full-forwards, the mercurial Gary Ablett stood out as one of the best, and reached the milestone of 1000 goals in this round 12 clash at Kardinia Park in 1996. Coming up against lowly Fremantle on 997 goals, Ablett was expected to reach 1000 fairly quickly, but was well-held by former Cats defender Stephen O’Reilly. However, he eventually kicked his 1000th late in the third quarter, causing thousands of Cats fans to stream onto the ground. Geelong ended up winning by 19 points, as the legendary forward became just the fifth player to join the 1000-goal club.

WEST COAST 24.16 (160) d BRISBANE 13.13 (91) (Gabba, Round 12 2003)
Chris Judd was always a prodigious talent, but he had what many considered his breakout game against Brisbane at the Gabba in 2003. Facing the Lions at the Gabba in those days was one of footy’s most daunting assignments, but Judd was unperturbed. He cut through the Lions’ defence with his explosive pace and kicked five dominant first-half goals. Judd had put himself on the map, and the Eagles showed signs of the force they would soon become by blowing away the Lions by 69 points.

ST KILDA 15.9 (99) d WEST COAST 11.10 (76) (Subiaco, Round 12 2007)
Not many VFL/AFL players reach 300 games, let alone 350, but Robert Harvey reached this milestone in style, racking up 30 disposals in a best-on-ground performance against West Coast. Taking on the reigning premiers at Subiaco, St Kilda put on a blistering seven goal to one second quarter to lead by 37-points at half-time. West Coast hit back to reduce the margin to 12 points at three-quarter time, but the Saints held on to win by 23 points. Harvey racked up 30 disposals in a clinical display, ensuring his 350th game had an appropriate result.

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